What in the world?

Almost to the day, twenty-eight years ago, my husband and I were sitting in my home church in Murfreesboro, TN, as the music and preaching centered around missions. We were leaving that next week, first for orientation in Virginia, and then on to our field of service, which at the time was supposed to be Lebanon (it would change three times, but that’s another story).

With Dr and Mrs Cotey 1990
With my home pastor and his wife

That’s why Avery Willis, the guest speaker for the day, began his sermon with this question: “What in the world makes you want to go to Lebanon?”

What indeed!

He used the Apostle Paul’s defense to King Agrippa in the book of Acts, chapter 26, as his answer for us.

  • Because of our experience in accepting Christ as Savior (vs. 12-16). Just like Paul, my call to missions came shortly after my profession of faith at the young age of eight. For Raouf, it all happened at the same time, at the later age of 29. We both knew, in our own unique ways, that God had called us to serve.
  • We go because we are appointed (v. 16). Just as God appointed Paul, he appointed us, and confirmed that call through our churches.
  • We go in obedience to the vision God gives (v. 19). I knew from the age of ten that God wanted me to serve as a missionary overseas, and, as the years went by, he increasingly clarified that vision to be among Arabic-speaking Muslims. Raouf too, had a vision to reach Muslims, and knew that it ultimately meant a return to the region of his birth.

We were headed to a country and region that had been fraught with war and strife. We were going to a people who not only rejected but fought against Christianity for centuries. What in the world would made us want to go?


The certainty of that vision, the support of our churches and the confidence in the God who goes before us kept us on task for over twenty years, through good times and bad. I would not have traded the experience for anything!

What in the world makes you do what you’re doing today?

It’s not the size of the task that’s important, but the size of the One who calls which makes all the difference in the world — and beyond. 

Make sure you’re walking in the way he wills, and you’ll be able to face whatever comes your way to his glory.

Grace and peace

Let me hear from you! I'd love your feedback on this post.